2012 Year-End Review

Half-a-Life in 2012

For the fourth time in the last 30 years, I put all my (dwindling) household goods into storage not knowing when, where, or in what state (of mind and residence) I’d be removing them.

The short straw in 2012 went to Grants, New Mexico, where since August I’ve been gainfully employed (for the first time since 2007) as Manager for Instructional Technology at the Grants campus extension of New Mexico State University. This comes as a direct consequence of my May 2012 completion of the Masters degree in Educational Psychology at the University of New Mexico (as an outstanding graduate, I might add). To supplement my job-seeking summer activities I put together an online portfolio website, including a six-minute video resume: http://stevestockdale.com/portfolio/

After re-reading that first paragraph you might have thought I earned a Masters in parenthetical annotations. I’ll try to stop.

Steve and StacyIn 2012, I turned 58 and my daughter turned 29. So I’ve lived, and will continue mathematically to live, more than half my life having a daughter. It also happens that 1983 marked the beginning of my own personal computing life with a TI-branded IBM compatible at work and a Commodore 64 at home. So from now on, I’ll also have lived more than half my life with computers.

By no means am I comparing my daughter to a computer. But it’s just an observation that she and computers (for me) came along about the same time. And coincidentally, we both now make our living by extending what we know about computing to others; she at the high school level with students and me at the community college level with faculty.

I guess you could say we’re engaged in the same business of managing electrons in order to influence neurons.

Missing K.C. and O.T.

Last February 23rd, while killing time waiting for a class at UNM, I checked email on my phone. I saw the always-dreaded Subject line from the Air Force Academy Association of Graduates: “Gone But Not Forgotten.” In this case, I immediately rushed into a computer lab to read the message full screen, because this time the Subject line included “Steinbaugh – 1976.”

K.C. Steinbaugh was my roommate for most of my last three years at the Academy, and if I had a “best friend” at USAFA, it was K.C. Even though he and his wife Liz and his three sons lived in Plano the entire time I lived in the Metroplex, I hadn’t seen him in the last ten years. I didn’t know that he had within just the past few months contracted a one-in-a-million neurological disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (known as CJD). One neurologist compared CJD to Lou Gehrig’s disease on steroids – always fatal, almost always within a year of first symptoms.

I attended his memorial service, then came back and as a tribute to K.C. and Danny Sawyer, another of our squadron classmates who died in 2006, I put together a video to commemorate our time at the Academy. The video and the obituary I wrote for the alumni publication are also available on this page: http://stevestockdale.com/portfolio/2012/spirit-of-76/.

Then in November I heard that O.T. Ryan, the long-time band director at Plainview High School and one of my dad’s best friends, died. I had visited O.T. and his wife Pat in March 2011.

It’s hard to escape the parallels – my best friend from college and my dad’s best friend as an adult died in the same year. And they both went by their initials.

A third death touched my life when, just a week before I was to vacate my Santa Fe apartment, my landlord Dennis Leon died at his home in San Miguel, Mexico, after steadily failing health over the previous year. He and his partner Roger normally came to Santa Fe every year at the end of May to do maintenance on the property, take care of local business, and lease renewals. I delayed my departure a couple of days in order to visit with Roger. I consider them good friends after three years as their tenant and commend Roger for his yeoman efforts to nurse Dennis through a very difficult year.

Reflections

Disparate things on my mind … next month will be the 20th anniversary of “The One-Minute Poem.” I honestly can’t say if I’ve made much progress in stowing away my self-criticizing red pen.

During the summer, after graduating and before I accepted the offer from NMSU Grants, I stayed with my sister and brother-in-law. I had a lot of time to think about the paths I’ve taken and the choices I’ve made. I came to the conclusion that more than anything else, what I want to do is have quality time to think about the things I want to think about.

A national monument, El Morro (Inscription Rock) is a 90-minute 45-minute drive from Grants. I visited it one Saturday in October. It’s an imposing rock formation that has ancient markings from the Anasazis, the remnants of a pueblo atop the rock, and from 1605 to 1905, inscriptions from travelers. Literally, El Morro was the rock-hard precursor to a Facebook update: “Governor Don Juan de Onate checked in, 1605, +27 not counting slaves.”

El Morro Inscriptions

The first week I was in Grants, I ate at a local Chinese place. I got the obligatory fortune cookie when I finished. But far from the usual insipid and trite bromide that has come to pass as a digestible “fortune,” I kept this one.

fortune-250

I don’t presume this as a forecast or prediction. But I will admit it’s always been a motivator that I haven’t always lived up to.

More

Stacy is now engaged to Chris, who surprised her with an engagement party I was able to attend just before I left for Grants. In addition to her teaching job, she’s developing a real photography business for senior pictures, weddings, special events, boxing matches, and anything else that needs to be graphically captured for posterity. Visit her website at http://justbreathephotos.com/ and her personal blog at http://justbreathe-stacy.blogspot.com/.

Stacy's engagement party
Susan, Chris, Cheryl, Stacy, Steve

Stacy and Chris took me to the new Perot Science Museum in downtown Dallas after Christmas. Here’s my version of “Roger and Me” (as in Roger Staubach) and why Slingr is, well, Slingr.

I had a great weekend visit with two dear friends, Andrea and Alta, in September. I needed it more than they.

For awhile I tried to maintain my interest in examining and scrutinizing what I believe are … suspicions … about the management of CHRISTUS St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe. I went so far as to request over 600 pages of county documents under the state’s public records act. But one can only fight so many battles and I’ve come to the realization that I can’t win this one.

 

Unexpected Pleasures of 2012

  • Downton Abbey (PBS)
  • Sherlock Holmes (BBCA)
  • The Hour (BBCA)
  • The Newsroom (HBO)
  • This young lady from Spain and her bass covers. I don’t know why but I instantly fell for these two videos of hers:


and

  • And for some reason I’ve been hooked on these classic Queen videos. Maybe I’ll need to come back to these later.

Radio Ga Ga

Under Pressure (the song starts at 2:00, but Freddie’s call and response with the crowd is pretty amazing)

 A New Hope for 2013

Love’s such an old fashioned word
And love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the light
And love dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves
This is our last dance
This is our last dance
This is ourselves
Under pressure.

There are a lot of people around the world and across the street who, for whatever reasons and causes and circumstances, exist “on the edge of the light.”

My hope for 2013 is that the Time Magazine will be justified to select as their collective Person of the Year, “The Other.”

USAF Academy Spirit of ’76

My roommate from the Air Force Academy, K.C. Steinbaugh, died this past February. After his memorial service, I felt compelled to create this tribute to my fellow CS-39 Campus Radicals, and to especially K.C. and Danny Sawyer, who died in 2006. Scroll down for the obituary I wrote for the Association of Graduates quarterly magazine.

Unfortunate update: Another Spirit of ’76 Campus Radical, Randy Richey, died on July 2, 2016, in Arlington, TX after a long battle with glioblastoma.


The film footage from our graduation and hat toss was taken off of YouTube, apparently posted by an anonymous classmate.

The ’76 Campus Radicals were:

  • Mike Belcher
  • Ric Caballero
  • Roger Clements
  • Kevin Heise
  • Al Janiszewski
  • Kurt Klingenberger
  • Craig Mosier
  • Carl Nordgren
  • Don Nylund
  • Andy Pijor
  • Joe Racher
  • Rico Racosky
  • Randy Richey
  • Jim Rooney
  • Danny Sawyer
  • Tom Sefcik
  • George Sherwood
  • Joe Smith
  • K.C. Steinbaugh
  • Steve Stockdale
  • Brian Sutter
  • Pete Trump
  • Greg Vitalis

I submitted the following to Checkpoints, the Association of Graduates quarterly, regarding K.C.

Keith Charles (K.C.) Steinbaugh, Spirit of ’76, died on February 22, 2012, in Allen, Texas. Just months earlier, he began to deteriorate from good health to exhibiting worrisome symptoms. He was eventually diagnosed with the very rare (as in one-in-a-million rare) and fatal neurological disease known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD).

K.C. was an accomplished high school athlete and scholar from Pasadena, CA. He ran track during his first two years at the Academy. He was in CS-23 as a doolie, then CS-39 Campus Radicals during his upperclass years. He was the only guy I roomed with more than once at the Academy, so I’ve always considered him “my roommate.”

He was passionate about cars, stereos, and just about everything related to electronics. He talked endlessly during our second class year about the turbocharged Cosworth Vega, but then he bought an old, powder blue, renovation-worthy Mercedes 280SL. He had a pair of Bose 701 directing reflecting speakers which, of course, were (usually) completely wasted in a cadet dorm room.

K.C. kept a stack of automotive and electronics magazines in the room. He was usually researching something. As an electrical engineering major, he wanted to understand how things worked. He was a good athlete. I remember many late afternoon treks from the gym back to the far reaches of 39th squadron after playing tennis with him. I think he was the first person I knew who converted from a wood racket to the Wilson T-2000 aluminum model.

After graduation he attended Undergraduate Navigator Training at Mather AFB, CA. He was assigned to C-130s with the 62nd Tactical Airlift Squadron at Little Rock AFB in 1977. He and his crew won the award for “Best C-130 Airdrop Crew in MAC” at the prestigious air mobility exercise known as Volant Rodeo in 1981.

K.C. completed his Air Force service in 1982. He and his wife Liz, a kindergarten teacher from nearby Benton, AR, moved to Plano, TX. They had three sons — Jordan, Jason, and Jeff. K.C. worked as a quality/reliability engineer and program manager at several companies in the Dallas area including Texas Instruments, Amtech, and Raytheon.

Jordan, his oldest son, spoke simply and eloquently during the memorial service. I was movingly reassured that the traits Jordan referred to in remembering his father were unmistakably the same traits I recalled about my roommate — quiet but selectively passionate with a laser-like and fully absorbing focus, studious, thorough, competent, committed, and genuinely kind. Fortunately for me, however, his interest in reptiles did not manifest itself until sometime after graduation.

It’s fitting that, given his commitment to research and his engineering sense for wanting to understand how things work, he donated his body to medicine so that more could be learned about the rare disease that claimed his life so prematurely.

K.C. Steinbaugh is survived by his wife Liz, sons Jordan, Jason, and Jeff, and siblings Sherrie, Christine, Patti, and Ken.

Here’s a clip from the Charlie Rose Brain Series with Nobel Laureate Dr. Stanley B. Prusiner discussing CJD and its abnormal protein similarities to Parkinsons and Huntingtons diseases. The full episode is located at: www.charlierose.com/view/interview/12408